Driving home for Christmas? Here's how to pack the car

Reporter:

Lucy Wain

Worried you won’t fit that giant toy box into the boot without breaking it? What about finding space for all those bottles of wine? Now a team of experts have compiled their top tips for packing our cars at Christmas.

Motoring giant Leasecar.uk compiled guidance for Brits who will be taking to the roads for a festive getaway.

Using compression bags instead of boxes, putting heavy items forward and on the bottom and making use of the space around the spare tyre, under the front seats and even inside shoes are some of the tactics Leasecar.uk advised.

Tim Alcock of Leasecar.uk said: “Everyone thinks of things like shopping and dinner over Christmas, and yet we don’t tend to give much thought to packing the car– even though this is a really major task for anyone who’s going away for the holidays.

“If you pack your car well, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you’ve got everything you need and it’s all set up in an orderly fashion, plus the journey will be safer.

“Make sure you can see out of all your windows and mirrors and check your tyre pressure before you set off.”

Seven top tips for packing the car for Christmas

Travel light

Plan ahead and make sure you bring only what you actually need. Lay everything out a day or two before and see what you can cull. If you’ll have access to a washing machine where you are, you can bring much fewer clothes. Don’t bother with hangers unless they’re absolutely necessary – they’re bulky and most clothes are fine to fold.

Bag it up

Where possible, use compression bags rather than cases or boxes to pack. These take up less room and are easier to fit into various spaces. Vacuum bags are great but use roll bags (or even just bin bags, pressed well) if you won’t have use of a hoover for the return journey. If you must use boxes, for example to protect fragile items, keep them as small as possible.

Stay balanced

You want to keep the centre of gravity in the car low and reduce weight over the wheels. Place large, heavier items at the bottom and towards the front and centre of the car. Don’t be afraid to take things out and repack them a few times to find the best arrangement.

If you have a roof rack, don’t overload it.

Use the hidden spaces

Footwells should be clear, but remember that there is room under the front seats, in the glove compartments and inner door cubbies, and there may be space around the spare tyre in the boot as well.

Fill your boots

Quite literally. If you’re bringing walking boots or large shoes, use the space inside them for small items like bottles, accessories, glasses cases, jewellery and so on.

Keep electronics separate

Have a designated space for all the electronics and keep them easily to hand, perhaps in a small packing cube in the glove compartment. You know someone’s going to need to charge their phone while you’re on the go.

Include an overnight bag

If you’re going to be arriving late, save yourself the stress of unloading everything in the dark after a tiring drive. Pack a small bag with everything you need for one night, go to bed and then do the full unload in the morning.

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